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Pongal

Features:
  • Veg
Cuisine:
  • 30 mins
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Ingredients

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Each January people in Southern India and Sri Lanka celebrate their winter harvest festival, Pongal. During these festivities, a hearty and sumptuous breakfast is made called ‘ven pongal.’

The main ingredients are rice, yellow lentils, cashew nuts, and spices all cooked to a creamy consistency. 

Health Benefits

This is a dish for a leisurely Sunday morning–delicious, indulgent and, above all, comforting. At the same time, pongal is also a healthy start to the day. Especially, the lentils are filling and provide fiber, protein, minerals, and vitamins.

It is considered slightly blasphemous, but you can use vegetable oil instead of butter or ghee as well. The taste will be different, less rich but the calorie count will be down as well.

Like with so many other recipes around the world, every household has their version of pongal. Whatever the differences are, this special breakfast brings a great sense of occasion and proper nourishment to every morning.

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How to make Pongal

  1. Cook rice and lentils together. Make according to instructions but slightly 'overcook' to an almost mushy consistency. Use a pressure cooker or leftovers to shorten the process.
  2. Heat the ghee or butter and add the cumin seeds and crushed peppercorns.
  3. When they sputter, add curry leaves, asafoetida, ginger, cashew nuts, chili and sautè for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the rice and lentils, mix all ingredients and cook for a few minutes. The rice grains should disintegrate into a sticky mush.
  5. Serve on its own, with chutney, sambar, gotsu or any other sauce of your choice. 

Here is a tip for a beautiful presentation of the dish:

Fill a small bowl to the top with pongal and press down lightly. Cover the bowl with the breakfast plate and turn it all upside down. Now you have the bowl sitting upside down on the plate. Gently lift it to reveal a professional looking dome-shaped breakfast pongal. 

For many people, this hearty recipe might not be suitable for breakfast time. No problem, have it for brunch, lunch, as an afternoon snack or as part of your dinner.

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